HARTFORD – State Representative JP Sredzinski (R-112) rushed to sign a petition letter this week that asks the Secretary of State to reconvene the legislature for a special session in response to growing concerns over cuts made to the Medicare Savings Program (MSP) in the recently-adopted 2017-2018 state budget. He expressed his desire for the legislature to commit to restoring funding for approximately 113,000 elderly and disabled people who would lose all or part of their health coverage because the two-year budget adopted by the General Assembly reduces the income eligibility limits for all categories of participants in the program, in many cases by as much as 50%.
“The General Assembly has a moral obligation to evaluate the harm these funding cuts will have on seniors and people with disabilities who rely on this program for their healthcare and then act as soon as possible to remedy this situation,” said Rep. Sredzinski. “Because these vulnerable citizens will face instant and drastic increases in their healthcare costs next year, I petitioned the Secretary of State to convene the legislature before the end of the year. This is a most urgent matter and we have no time to waste in voting on a way to make sure our seniors and disabled are not devastated by the cuts made to this program.”
On Tuesday, Rep. Sredzinski signed a petition letter to the Secretary of State’s office as an official recommendation that a special session of the General Assembly is necessary to address the MSP funding issue. While the Department of Social Services (DSS) announced that it would delay implementation of eligibility reductions to the state’s MSP program until March 1, 2018, while it conducts a review of coverage alternatives, Rep. Sredzinski called the development “helpful in the short term, but absolutely not a solution or a reason for peace of mind for the 86,000 low-income seniors who would be disqualified from the program and the 27,000 who would have their coverage reduced.” He also noted that many of these seniors might not qualify for alternative coverage.
House and Senate leadership are currently discussing the MSP situation and are considering whether to convene before the beginning of the regular session in February.